Thursday, July 7, 2016

Challenges and Opportunities of IT/ITES - Start-ups and SMEs, 7th July 2016

 

Challenges and Opportunities of IT/ITES - Start-ups and SMEs,
7th July 2016


With Honourable Union minister for IT, Law and Justice and President of Karnataka
BJP, Shri B.S. Yediyurappa.  Anuradha Biswas, Founder and CEO of Prakat Solutions was proud to participate in the event which was held at the Capitol Hotel, Bangalore and organized by the BJP Karnataka Economic Cell.

It was an interactive talk about opportunities in Digital India, especially in the context of rural health care and education sector. There was a lot of emphasis on Internet of
Things (IOT) and smart phone based solutions for all walks of life.




Read more:





Prakat Solutions Private Limited, No. 49, AMR Plaza, 18th Main, HSR Layout 3rd Sector, Bangalore
560102.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

eMERG: Forging Links and Leveraging Networks Convention (FLLN)



It was a day well spent for the women from Prakat who participated in the FLLN convention. eMERG is an association for women in technology, business, profession and services. It is a non-profit doing some fantastic work providing women a platform to showcase and develop their business and talents. FLLN is their flagship annual event, an international business convention where women participate to learn, grow, network and be part of mainstream business- the perfect place to be for current and future women entrepreneurs.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated the FLLN event, followed by panel discussions. Our first impression at the event was one of exuberance, looking at nearly 500 odd high-energy women entrepreneurs- all eager to learn and share. The talks motivated women to pursue their dream by reaching out to the right resources to conduct and establish business networks. They provided useful insights into government policies, initiatives around financial support and subsidies that encourage entrepreneurship among women. The panel discussions were thought provoking and the keynote address from Deepak Shinde, though short, was invigorating. The ‘ sheforher ‘ online platform initiative from Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Mrs. K. Ratnaprabha and moral story from Deepak Shinde, of joining hands of dreamer and a supporter was well aligned to the eMERG purpose.
eMERG regularly conducts training programs for the members, which provides opportunities to learn about the current policies, funding facilities as well as training potentials available from the government and the non- government sectors. eMERG organizes trade delegations nationally as well as internationally which provides excellent exposure opportunities.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
More about eMERG: http://www.emergindia.org/
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

GAAD - Hosted by Prakat Solutions Inc.

19 May 2016 - Global Accessibility Awareness Day.



At Mitra Jyothi Auditorium on Thursday 19 May 2016, at 5 p.m., C.A. Site No. P 22, 31 st Main, 18 th Cross, HSR
Layout, Sector I, Behind NIFT College. BE THERE!!
We implore you to give your employees and colleagues a glimpse of the challenges faced by the differently
abled ...
Send us an email to a11y@prakat.com and we will send you a "Meeting in a Box" which you can use with your
teams

 

Need for inclusivity in technology solutions – Global Accessibility May_19th_2016

Need for inclusivity in technology solutions – Global Accessibility
Awareness Day.
Fort Worth, TX, Denver, CO and Bangalore, India:
According to the UN, 1 in 7 people in the world are differently challenged. As technology has
intruded every part of our life, technology companies need to be sensitive about creating products
and solutions which are accessible by everyone.
For example, **** which are commonly used mobile application based taxi services are
inaccessible by differently challenged people.
Prakat tested around 105 Karnataka Government websites and found that only eight of them
were accessible. Even the website belonging to The Commissioner of Disabilities was not
accessible – (See Appendix I).
Mitra Jyothi, Prakat Solutions and Rotary Koramangala conducted its second Global
Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) here in HSR layout, Bangalore. Eminent leaders from
technology companies like Wipro, Ebay, Intuit, Informatica, who are in the business of enabling
technology that interfaces with the general public, as well as social entrepreneurs from
organizations like Enable India and Mitra Jyoti, who work relentlessly for people with
disabilities, participated in a spirited panel discussion, emphasizing the need to be more
inclusive while developing technology solutions and broaden the discussion to bring awareness
about accessibility not just in technology, but also in other areas of life. The event was attended
by product architects, developers, testers from leading MNC's, celebrities from society, who
genuinely support the cause of accessibility.
According to Anu Biswas, CEO, Prakat Solutions - “Animals can be trained, only human
beings can be educated. It requires personal participation and transformation. Let us
together make Inclusivity and Accessibility a Way of life“
Panelists:
Madhu Singhal, Founder & Managing Trustee, Mitra Jyothi
Ms. Shanthi Raghavan, Enable India
Srinivasu Chakravarthula, Informatica
Dr. Nandakumar Ramakrishnan, Ebay
Abhinav Kumar, Managing Consultant, Wipro
Vishwajit Aklecha. Intuit
For More Information:
Preethi Balaji : +91 9686679634; preethi.balaji@prakat.com
http://www.prakat.com/GAAD ; facebook.com/prakatsolutions

About Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a community-driven effort whose goal is to focus one
day to raise the profile of digital (web, software, mobile app/device, touch screen kiosk, etc.)
accessibility and people with different disabilities.www.globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org
or http://prakat.com/gaad
About Prakat
Prakat is a Technology Solutions company that specializes in end-to-end testing, test-driven
Software Development, Cloud enablement and Accessibility Engineering. Prakat’s vision is to
build and deploy labs and resources specifically for each product company comprising of
Accessibility, Usability, Mobility and Cloud technologies.
Since its inception in 2009, Prakat has focused on its Accessibility Engineering practice and
has trained and employed many differently abled candidates who are Accessibility-ready.
Several of the differently abled candidates trained by Prakat have been deployed by leading
technology companies like SAP Labs.
Prakat Solutions, Inc. is based out of Denver, US and Bangalore, India.
Please visit www.prakat.com or email info@prakat.com.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day,19th_ May_ 2016

 
 
Setting the stage:
 
The GAAD, a collaborative effort of Mitra Jyothi, Prakat Solutions and Rotary Koramangala was a day that saw a culmination of voices, thoughts, approaches and solutions and an increased awareness of challenges faced by people with disabilities (PWD). A video that brought to us the perspectives of various PWD and their challenges was followed by a panel discussion in two parts where eminent panelists from diverse backgrounds spoke about the various approaches, challenges and stories of innovative solutions in the field of Accessibility.
The event opened with the lighting of lamp by Major Singh and Madam Uma of Mitra Jyothi. Following this, the tone of the event was set by Ms. Madhu Singhal, Founder of Mitra Jyothi, by stressing that Accessibility is not something achievable by a few, but each person has to play their part to make it a reality.
Mrs. Anuradha Biswas, Founder of Prakat Solutions, gave us the background behind the GAAD: The idea of a GAAD started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer, Joe Devon. Jennison Asuncion, an Accessibility professional from Toronto discovered Joe’s blog post purely by accident thanks to Twitter. After reading it, he immediately contacted Joe and they joined forces, leveraging their extensive and respective networks to realize the event.
She invited the audience to put on their thinking hats and pitch in with ideas, thoughts and questions.
The diverse audience comprised of several professionals from Intuit, Oracle, Wipro, IBM etc., developers, designers and testers, besides people with disabilities and those from NGOs.


GAAD video presentation:
 
The session began with an eye-opening video that educated and sensitized us about what accessibility is and why there is such a pressing need for it by bringing to us the perspectives of people who faced several different types of disabilities. They spoke about the challenges they face as they navigate the digital world- something that we take entirely for granted.
The statistics are actually quite shocking- 9 out of 10 websites are not accessible. A large number if services and products online are not available to PWD due to the lack of awareness on the part of corporates, developers, designers etc. We also got a peek into the various types of assistive technologies and the many tools available to compensate for any limitations a user may have.


Panel discussion:
 
Panel 1
 
The panel discussion happened in two parts, the first one was moderated by Anu Biswas, Founder & CEO, Prakat Solutions who was joined by Madhu Singhal, Founder & Managing Trustee, Mitra Jyothi, Vishwajit Aklecha, Product Architect behind Intuit’s QuickBooks and Srinivasu Chakravarthula, CEO, Informatica.
Srinivasu, spoke about the two types of enterprises, based on their approach to accessibility- the proactive and the reactive. The proactive take initiative and make their products and services accessible, (perhaps because the leadership is passionate about the cause) while the reactive come to understand the importance of accessibility either through a lawsuit or the threat of one. He gave the example of Apple, which although started out as reactive, pledged to incorporate accessibility into the design of every Apple device thereafter, and indeed, today we see that every Apple device comes with a complete accessibility suite. He stressed that awareness and sensitization could convert the reactive to become proactive.
It is important to focus on accessibility earlier on in the process. This would be much easier and cost effective than the alternative approach of converting existing products phase-wise, to make them accessible.
Another important aspect he highlighted was the fact that awareness about accessibility should also come to developers through education and training.
Vishwajit, answering the question as to what could influence product companies to integrate accessibility into their processes and design, shared the story of Quickbooks, an accounting ecosystem by Intuit. When he heard from visually challenged individuals who were using the software and said that they could not even select the date on the software, that is when he started the initiative to test the accessibility of the product and partnered with the visually challenged in making the tool accessible. This initiative was made possible by convincing stakeholders that it is not always about the numbers. And sure enough, the next release of QuickBooks in 2013, met a lot of appreciation for being accessible and inclusive. He said that this brought a lot of hope and motivation for users.
Madhuji, who has been an inspiration for the founders at Prakat, spoke about how any design should take accessibility into account in the earlier stages. She pointed out that many designs that meant to be accessible are not actually so in practice. She gave the example of a cane for the visually challenged that she had recently come across that was so heavy that it was not at all practical!
She highlighted simple examples from her own life- how when she gets an invite to an event in .jpeg format, she has to wait for a sighted person to show up and read the details to her. If I could only do my own work without depending on others, that would make me so happy, she said. Roads, public transport and the lack of accessible toilets, all pose safety threats and hinder the everyday lives of people with disabilities. She stressed on the importance of persisting and continuing to highlight issues to the Government and to technology professionals who would be able to bring about a change.


Petition to make Karnataka Govt. websites accessible:
 
Abhik Biswas, President, Rotary Koramangala and Co-founder and Principal, Tech & Dev, Prakat Solutions, gave us a brief introduction to the work done by Rotary and their collaborative effort with the government and other organizations in virtually eradicating polio.
He spoke about Prakat’s initiative, a report on the state of 105 Karnataka Government websites. The report found that only eight of them were accessible. He invited the members of the audience to sign the petition to the Karnataka Government to make their websites accessible and also bring a surveillance mechanism in place to keep the sites honest and accessible to all.


Panel 2:
 
The second part of the panel discussion was moderated by Abhik and joined by Ms. Shanthi Raghavan, CEO, Enable India, Dr. Nandakumar Ramakrishnan, Ebay and Abhinav Kumar, Managing Consultant, Wipro.
Abhinav shared the story of Wipro’s Accessibility practice, which involved making wipro.com, and all of its internal applications used by 170,000+ employees worldwide, completely accessible. He spoke about their initiative of forming a forum for employees with special needs where they can voice their perspectives. People highlighted all sorts of challenges, for example, one visually challenged person highlighted that the even to view details on something as confidential as their payslips,  they would need the help of a sighted colleague.
Shanti gave several examples to her point that features designed for the benefit of people with disabilities do in fact end up benefiting everyone. The vibrate mode on phones, subtitles for audiovisuals, etc., initially designed for the hearing impaired have become universally useful today. Most importantly, she gave us two cases of accessibility innovations that helped not just the visually challenged but also the society at large. 1. Car dealerships facing high attrition in their after sales support teams, made their internal applications accessible to leverage over one lakh potential candidates who were visually challenged. Not only did the visually challenged benefit from the employment, but so did the car dealership. 2. After analyzing jobs that could be available for visually challenged in SBI, it was found that they could take on the role of Passbook printing. The only change the bank needed to make was add the account number in barcode format on passbooks, which benefited not just the visually challenged but also ensured error free number entry for other employees.
Dr. Nandakumar spoke about the importance of ‘left-shifting’ our accessibility practice, that is to incorporate accessibility earlier in the lifecycle. A simple observation he made was that we rarely go to banks these days due to the advent of online and mobile banking. But in some decades, when we grow old, we might face one or the other type of age related disability, which might make these modes of banking inaccessible to us. It would not be possible to invest in changing decades’ of code then. He stressed that enabling accessibility adds to cost only when it is an afterthought, not when it is thought of in the initial stages of product design. He also spoke of the need to make innovations in accessibility open source, as they would benefit the entire community.

Featured post

Entrepreneur – The leader in the making

I had the opportunity to address the final year students of the A.P.S Engineering college. The journey of an entrepreneur is very uniq...